Brown Garden Snail
[Vineyard Snails; Petit Gris (French), Helix aspersa alt Cantareus aspersus]
These snails have been introduced to various parts of the world by French immigrants, often with ill conceived dreams of snail farming and always with disastrous consequences. They have become quite a pest in California and cost many millions of dollars every year. Only ducks, rats and Frenchmen seem to want to eat them.
One of the primary "escargot" snails of France, Petit Gris gets up to
1-3/8 inches across the shell. The other two snails eaten by the French are
Gros Gris (H. aspersa var maxima) which grows to 1-3/4 inches
and the Bourgogne Snail (H. Pomatia) which gets a little bigger than
2 inches. Neither of these is a problem in California, we're stuck with the
little ones. Photo ©
Even though I live in California I haven't had a chance to try these yet. My long term snail eradication efforts have been so successful I wasn't even able to find an example to photograph and had to buy a photo. I can see the tears of sympathy forming in people's eyes even as I write . . .
If you have plenty in your garden and decide to try these snails be careful. Make sure your neighbors haven't set out toxic snail bait and that your snails haven't been eating plants sprayed with pesticides.
Before you try to cook snails carefully read the following instructions and you will then know enough to go out and buy factory prepared snails.
The French cannot grow anywhere near as many snails as they eat so they import them in great quantity from countries more than happy to part with theirs.